Danny Burgess no longer has to worry about a primary battle in his quest to succeed Will Weatherford in House District 38.
The former Zephyrhills mayor earned the Republican nomination Friday after his primary opponent, Minnie Diaz, failed to file part of her paperwork before the noon deadline to qualify. Diaz, an adjunct professor at Pasco-Hernando State College, said her inexperience in running a campaign caused her to misunderstand the deadline to file her financial disclosure forms, and it cost her the race before it even started.
“I assume full responsibility,” Diaz said. “I did not fully grasp the process of qualifying week, and I did not understand that it truly meant. There was a certain amount of confusion on my part.”
Diaz chose to qualify by petition, meaning she would need just under 1,000 verified signatures to help get her qualified — a feat she achieved last December. Most of her paperwork was filed a year ago when she first announced her candidacy, but did add an audit letter to the state Division of Elections on June 12.
What she was missing, however, was a financial disclosure form. Diaz said she understood the deadline for that form was July 1, but learned after it was too late that deadline is for incumbents, not new candidates, who instead must have it filed by the June 20 qualifying deadline. Burgess filed his financial disclosure form June 17.
Diaz might be out of this race, but she is not out of politics for good.
“I gave a good fight,” she said. “I am a first-time candidate, and I made them worry a little bit. It was a technicality. It’s a very serious technicality, but it’s still a technicality. But I am going to stay in East Pasco, I’m going to live in East Pasco, and I’m going to continue working for East Pasco, especially with women and veterans.”
Burgess did qualify for the race, as did his Democratic opponent Beverly Ledbetter. The two will face off in the Nov. 4 election.